Does vitamin B17 cure cancer?

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My father has pancreatic cancer and someone sent me an e-mail saying that vitamin B17 is the cure for cancer, but that the FDA has banned this. Do you know anything about this? Would you please help me?

Or try to send me in the right direction? Thank you in advance for anything you might be able to offer.

There is no such nutrient needed by the body called vitamin B17. It is often sold as a supplement with laetrile, a substance containing cyanide extracted from apricot and peach pits. From 1958 to 1994, the FDA regulated supplements like food. Supplements had to be safe, wholesome and labels had to be truthful and not misleading. In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed which removed supplements from the scrutiny foods receive. Now dietary supplements have to be safe and labeled appropriately including any health claims made on labels or product literature.

I would encourage your dad to talk to a registered dietitian who can review his chart and make specific recommendations for pancreatic cancer. Generally, persons with pancreatic cancer need to limit fat and moderate protein as your pancreas makes enzymes that are used in the digestion of these nutrients. It is very important that your dad snack frequently to maintain his weight especially if he is having radiation or chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, when people are diagnosed with cancer, they often decide to start eating healthy by cutting out a lot of foods and end up losing weight which is not recommended even for overweight people with cancer. You can best help your immune system by maintaining your weight and eating a variety of foods as long as they are tolerated.